Richard Wilson's cycling review of 2009

THERE were plenty of successes for Ballymena Road Club-Scott Roof Tiles cyclists in 2009 – both at club level and further afield.

Philip Bremner from Cullybackey and Ahoghill's Ryan Connor got their 2009 off to a perfect start by winning the first road race of the season at Annaclone.

Bremner then headed off with the Cycling Ulster team for the Tour of Malta in March. (Ryan Connor, Louise Fullerton and Elle Forrest also were on this trip, but Elle's season was ruined after a crash caused her to break a collar bone)

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Bremner then spent much of the season racing in Belgium, as part of the Dave Rayner bursary scheme, and was based near the French border at Menen.

There was also early season success for BRC riders in the Cicli Sport Grand Prix races at Coagh on 28th March, where there was a huge turnout of over 100 adult riders.

Glenarm's Leo McAllister registered his first open senior win when he took the honours in the five laps, 45 miles "B" race. Tommy Wilson had a top ten finish in his event.

The Tandragee motor cycle course saw two wheeled action for the second successive weekend on Saturday 9th May when Orchard Wheelers promoted their annual "Groucho's GP" road races on the circuit.

Ballymena Road Club rider Louise Fullerton had an impressive win in the four laps 20 miles women's race when she out sprinted her two co leaders at the end of the event.

Towards the end of last season BRC's Conor McAllister was crowned Ulster Criterium champion after winning the title race, which was promoted by Clann Eireann in Lurgan on Friday 7th August.

He then followed this up by winning the North Down grand prix road race at Donaghadee on 23rd August and took another Championship medal, this time silver, when he finished second in the Ulster road race championship for Elite men at Nutts Corner on 13th September.

Conor's younger brother Leo finished in fifth place in the same event while Philip Bremner was sixth in the junior race.

Cambridge House student, Aaron Swan, from Clough had an incredible year in 2009 which saw him win, amongst a host of other awards, three All Ireland titles.

This made him the first Ballymena youth rider to achieve this. In fact he is only the third Ballymena rider, from any age group, to be crowned an all Ireland Road Race Champion. The others being Gordon Caldwell in the early sixties and Billy Kerr in 1982. Aaron's success came in the Irish Title race events, at Gorey in Co. Wexford, in July, where he was runner up in the Under 12 All Ireland Time Trial Championship. However later that same day he won the U12 Criterium Championship when he won the sprint to the line by a few metres to win his first title and gold medal.

The following day in the road race he sprinted to another victory which gave him the Under 12 Road Race title and another gold medal. The two wins and the second place in the time trial earned him the much coveted all Ireland U12 Champion of Champions title.

At club level, Dunclug College student Craig Crawford, from Ballykeel, won five club trophies during 2009.

Craig’s successes came in the Schools’ Championship mini stage race at Broughshane on 1st June where, as overall winner, he earned the Greer cup.

Towards the end of the season, on 26th August, he won the Sandy Spence cup road race on the Glarryford circuit.

Craig’s time trialling speed took him to the top of the results table in the club’s youth time trial “best all rounder” contest for the Samuel Mark shield.

Craig had a time of 6 minutes 19 seconds for 2.5 miles and 11 minutes 37 seconds for the 5 miles distance. This gave him an overall winning speed of 24.786 mph.

Craig also won the Dave Millar cup for the youth league which includes the results from the full programme of 24 club race events.

Craig amassed a total score of 212 points, from a total possible 240. Aaron Swan was second with 186.

The youth road racing series for the Kerr and McAuley cup was also won by Crawford who had an 8 point margin of victory again over Aaron Swan.

In fact the only perpetual trophy not won by Craig was the Clarke’s tyres cup road race at Broughshane on 27th May where Adam Kerr took the honours.

Louise Fullerton won the Ballymena Road Club Scott Roof Tiles – Ladies’ time trial best all rounder competition for the 2009 season.

Louise showed massive improvement this season and her performances earned her a new ladies’ club record in this competition.

Overall Louise established a new record average speed of 25.124 mph which beat Amanda Scott’s 1995 record, which had been 23.340 mph.

Louise also won the bronze medal for the 10mile Ulster Championships at Woodgreen on 11th June with a time of 24.53.

Founder member Sammy Kerr may have joined BRC in 1954 but he is still a force to be reckoned with some 56 seasons later as he has been confirmed as the winner of the club’s veterans’ time trial championship, on age standard, for the 2009 season.

Not only has Sammy won the title he has also established a new club record in doing so.

Overall Sammy’s winning total added up to plus 71 minutes 10 seconds.

BRC race secretary Tommy Wilson, from Antrim, won the club’s road racing league series for the 2009 season, winning the William Smyth cup outright, a trophy which he last won in 2003.

Cambridge House student Matthew Brennan had a brilliant season in the club and he won the R F Linton trophy as junior time trial best all rounder.

Matthew recorded time of 11 minutes 45 seconds for 5 miles: 23.38 for 10 miles: and 62 minutes 18 seconds for the 25 miles distance, for an overall winning average of 24.999 mph.

He also finished second in the Australian pursuit mini league and was equal second in the club’s road racing league where he faced senior opposition each time he competed.

However his biggest highlight of the year came when he was picked for the Ulster team at the U.K. School Games in Wales.

The BRC touring section enjoyed a varying programme of “away” trips during the season and they rounded off their programme with the annual 13 week fun tour series, which this year raised 726 for the Chernobyl children’s appeal NI. Derek Dougan too was a busy fund raiser with his marathon 100 miles roller ride in the Tower centre raising an amazing 2100 for the friends of the cancer centre.

Many thanks to all the sponsors, marshalls, judges, timekeepers, tea makers and all other helpers who made the 2009 season such a success, hopefully you will all be available again next season.

Happy racing in 2010 and “keep your profile low!”